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Thread: Zenza Bronica

  1. #1
    Pumalite's Avatar
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    Zenza Bronica

    Anybody with experience with this camera?
    I saw it on sale on a forum. It has a Nikkor-P as a normal lens. They vaguely say that there are 2 other lenses that are Vivitar. It seems to be an S2. What are the differences in the models? Thanks.
    " A loving and caring heart is the beginning of all knowledge " ~ Thomas Carlyle ~

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    henryp's Avatar
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    http://www.tamron-usa.com/bronica/slr_archives.asp
    http://nikomat.org/priv/camera/medni...bronica-e.html

    I believe the S2 preceded the ETRS system. If i recall correctly the S cameras had interchangeable backs while the less expensive C cameras did not.

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    CGW
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    Despite being heavy, noisy, and old, they're a nice 6x6 camera whose Nikkor lenses are first-rate(Bronica and Komura lenses less so). I have a well-used hi-mileage S I bought cheap and used happily for a couple of years. It's film advance/mirror/shutter train finally failed--a common problem thanks to soft brass gears--and I shelved and replaced it with a Bronica SQ-B. Frankly, I'd take a pass on it unless it's very affordable. Parts and repair service are dwindling(Koh's and Frank Marshman if he's still working are about the only reliable garages around). The 75/2.8 Nikkor is a very sweet lens that I miss.

    A bit more here if you snoop around on early Bronicas:

    http://www.cameraquest.com/bronicad.htm

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    lxdude's Avatar
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    The S2a had a more robust mechanism and is more desirable for that reason.
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

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    Adrian Twiss's Avatar
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    Prices on SQB's are fairly reasonable. I picked up an SQB, 6 lenses, 4 backs and a prism for just over $2000. I believe the camera was just under $400 with 80mm lens, WLF and back

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    Pumalite's Avatar
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    Thank guys. Great links and info. I think I'm going to have to see this beast before I make a decision.
    " A loving and caring heart is the beginning of all knowledge " ~ Thomas Carlyle ~

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    The s-model Bronicas are simply gorgeous, the way Mercedes Gull-wing sports cars of the '50s are, and they are designed to use the excellent Nikkor lenses. But (if you read the threads) they have a major design flaw in that the film advance mechanism in many copies (despite claims by some satisfied owners) simply breaks down (due to the use of unsuitable metal in the gear train) and more than likely is unfixable.

    It really is a shame that they used better material in the body (stainless steel) than on the gears.

    Recently, I was examining one in a bricks and mortar store, which had been "fixed": it broke down in the shop under the vendor's (horified) gaze as I operated the film advance.

    If you buy it, be prepared to lose your investment.
    Last edited by Galah; 02-24-2011 at 05:04 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #8
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    The S2a uses stainless steel gears, resolving the overwinding issues of the earlier models.

    The case of the camera breaking down in the shop could have been unfamiliarity with the mechanism. When you wind the camera, it seems to lurch forward and suddenly release. That's the normal operation of the clutch that prevents overwinding, but it feels like something is broken, if you don't know how it works. Then the Filminder back has interlocks to prevent accidental double exposure, shooting without film, or shooting with the darkslide in, so it could appear that the camera isn't working, if you don't know that you can't just wind it without film with the back in place.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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    Trond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CGW View Post
    Despite being heavy, noisy, and old, they're a nice 6x6 camera whose Nikkor lenses are first-rate(Bronica and Komura lenses less so).
    I have to disagree with you about Bronica lenses. I have several for my S2A, including the 80mm 2.4, the 100mm 2.8 and the 150 3.5, and they are all very good.

    Trond

  10. #10
    IloveTLRs's Avatar
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    I had a Bronica S (not an S2) for a number of years, but I finally sold it a few weeks ago. I originally bought it because I couldn't afford a Hasselblad (and still can't, really)

    Some nice touches were ...
    - Close-focus ability: since the lenses extend into the body they can focus down to much less than 1 meter
    - No need to advance the film/cock the shutter to see through the viewfinder
    - When putting a back on the body, the darkslide automatically pops-out
    - With a back removed, there is no way to accidentally pull out the darkslide and ruin ones film
    - Backs for the S and S2 are interchangeable and cheap. I was able to gett them for about $20 a piece

    Some things I didn't like ...
    - Noise. Similar to, if not louder than, a Pentax 67. Bronicas make a loud CLANG! whereas Hasselblads make a softer CLOP. If noise doesn't bother you then this isn't an issue
    - The lack of lenses - I couldn't find anything other than the 75/2.8 (without going on to eBay.)
    - Weight. The S series are not light-weight cameras
    - Reliability ...

    It is my understanding that earlier models had brass gears, which didn't hold up so well under heavy professional use. The S2 features steel gears, which are more robust. I've been told that most repair places in Japan will refuse Bronica repairs, since internally they are quite complex. This page (in French, but Google Chrome will translate it nicely) has tons of information on Bronica, including pictures of the internals: http://www.dirapon.be/bronica.htm - personally I think they are mechanical masterpieces, but I can see why a repair person would recoil in terror.

    I had a complete set: An S with case and original box, the prism finder with case and box, the extension tubes with original box, a darkslide with plastic case, and the metal lens shade. Local places said I'd be lucky to get $20 for the whole thing, so a local Bronica-nut bought it all for $150.
    Those who know, shoot film

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